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Have You Seen Luis Velez?

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An Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestseller. New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear. Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious Have you seen Luis Velez? Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two. Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

315 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 21, 2019

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About the author

Catherine Ryan Hyde

71 books5,164 followers
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 44 published and forthcoming books.

Her newer releases are Dreaming of Flight, Boy Underground, Seven Perfect Things, My Name is Anton, Brave Girl, Quiet Girl, Stay, Have You Seen Luis Velez?, Just After Midnight, Heaven Adjacent, The Wake Up, Allie and Bea, Say Goodbye for Now, Leaving Blythe River, Ask Him Why, Worthy, The Language of Hoofbeats, Take Me With You, Walk Me Home, and When I Found You.

Forthcoming are So Long, Chester Wheeler, and Just a Regular Boy..

Other novels include When You Were Older, Where We Belong, Don’t Let Me Go, Second Hand Heart, Jumpstart the World, Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills, The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness.

She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of How to be a Writer in the E-Age: a Self-Help Guide.

Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward was made into a major Warner Brothers motion picture. It was chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in over 30 countries. Simon & Schuster released a special 15th anniversary edition in December of ’14.

Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition, an age-appropriate edited edition of the original novel, was released by Simon & Schuster in August of ‘14. It is suitable for children as young as eight.

You can learn much more about Catherine at www.catherineryanhyde.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,821 reviews
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,285 reviews2,205 followers
June 3, 2019
It’s feel good and uplifting, a story about finding kindness and the goodness of people when and where it’s least expected. It was just what I needed. I’ve read so many tough stories these last months and watched way too much news reflecting the nastiness of our current political discourse. I needed a break. However, this is not what I would consider a light read. There are some serious and thought provoking themes, but the goodness of people that is reflected here gives one a little hope and confidence that “our better angels” can prevail.

I loved the characters. Raymond Jaffe, a lonely, misfit, sixteen year old boy has no friends since his only friend moved away. He doesn’t fit in with his mother’s and stepfather’s new family. He’s black and they are white and no one seems to care enough about him to listen when he talks to them. His father’s wife barely tolerates him. Raymond discovers that Mildred Gutterman, his ninety two year old blind neighbor is in need of help when she asks him if seen Luis Velez. Luis Velez is the man who used to look in on her and help her with errands to the bank and for groceries. But he’s disappeared. We don’t get to meet the Luis Velez of the title, but we get to know what kind of man he was . His kindness can be found in Raymond who takes over Luis Velez’s care of Mrs. G. His kindness can be found in a couple of other men named Luis Velez that Raymond meets while on his quest to find out what happened to the Luis Velez of the title.

It isn’t just about what Raymond does for Mrs. G, it’s also about the friendship and understanding that she lends to him at a time when he needs it. It’s about racism and preconceived ideas that people have, and about intolerance, but ultimately how people have the capacity to lift each other up. Reading this couldn’t have come at a better time.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,109 reviews2,792 followers
June 15, 2022
"Have You Seen Luis Velez?" will encourage you to look outside of yourself and see what is really around you, who is really around you. To try to put yourself into the shoes of those not like yourself, so you can understand how others might think and feel. This book is full of heart and feeling and left me knowing there is always something I can do to make this world a better place.

Raymond is a 16 year old black young man who feels like he belongs nowhere. His lives with his white mom, white step father and 3 step sisters (the only one he feels like he connects with is the four year old) and knows he doesn't fit into this family. His father is married to a woman just eight years older than Raymond, who resents Raymond's presence and makes it hard for Raymond to spend time with his dad.

One day Raymond meets 92 year old Mildred, a blind woman living alone, in Raymond's apartment building. Luis Velez had been watching over Mildred for the last four years, taking her to the bank and the grocery store three times a week but he suddenly stopped coming three weeks earlier and Mildred is worried about him and has no way to find out what happened to him. Not only that, she is down to her last half can of soup.

Raymond wants to and does help Mildred, not only stepping into the shoes of Luis, to make sure Mildred is cared for but also Raymond wants to find Luis for Mildred, despite the fact that Raymond is extremely shy and uncomfortable with people. Despite his discomfort, Raymond is willing to call strangers and even travel to dangerous areas of town, to talk to strangers, all for Mildred, a woman who he respects not only for her age but for her knowledge, wisdom, and kindness.

This is a story full of love, kindness, and compassion, despite the very sad things that happen in the lives of the characters in the story. We see everything through Raymond's eyes, as he learns to see things through Mildred's blind eyes and the eyes of others. We need more Raymonds in the world and more Mildreds in the world, people who are willing to reach out to others and share in ways that matter.

Published May 21st 2019

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Christine on hiatus, see “About me”.
589 reviews1,136 followers
May 21, 2019
5 stars

Catherine Ryan Hyde is an author I have been eyeing for years, and I have about a half dozen of her novels downloaded on my kindle. Finally, after seeing some superb reviews for Have You Seen Luis Velez? I decided to finally dive in and read one of her books.

This is a shining little gem. It is simply written, but laden with wisdom and life-affirming inspiration. It’s a tale about Raymond, a 16-year-old boy with an unhappy home life (“I just don’t fit in”), and his 92-year-old neighbor Mildred Gutermann (Mrs. G), whose helper of four years, Luis Velez, has disappeared. Raymond and Mrs. G meet serendipitously at just the right time for them both. This is their story, and I will leave it to you, dear reader, to discover it on your own. Just know that even though it will impact teenagers, it is not too late for anyone to learn from these two special people.

This book teaches us that though we all have burdens to bear, this is not a reason to give up. Life is messy. It is difficult, it is heartbreaking, it can be seemingly unbearable. But it is also beautiful, glorious, and absolutely a gift to hang on to for as long as we can. Take this journey with Raymond and Mrs. G and see how together they find their way.

I just have to mention this. Books get extra credit from me if they teach me something. This book taught me several things, but the most remarkable is how a major societal ill can be explained by quantum physics. No kidding. And Ms. Ryan tells us very clearly how this works.

If you are looking for a quick read with all the feelings and lessons to share, this is the book for you.

Thank you Net Galley, Lake Union Publishing, and Ms. Catherine Ryan Hyde for an advanced review copy of this book. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Thanks also to Erin, Erin C, Sherri and Aga for your awesome reviews that led me to choose this book.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,956 reviews485 followers
May 19, 2019
Such a beautiful story! Grab this one my friends and make sure the tea is hot, the cats are purring and that you have a great stock of tissue paper( Kleenex) on hand. When Raymond, an African American teenager befriends the elderly blind woman in his apartment building to help her find a friend, Luis Velez, a tale of friendship, family, and forgiveness begins.

I absolutely adored this book and I cannot wait to hear from other readers about their own reactions to it. But I am also feeling fiercely protective , because I won't be able to hear a harsh word about it. This is a similar reaction to my reading of Dancing on Broken Glass which I still believe is one of the best women's fiction books. There is just much love in this one too that my heart just soars.

Raymond and Mrs. G reminded me of the 1971 film Harold and Maude , in each case you have a younger man forming this relationship with an older woman and those around them cannot understand it. Although I should probably reassure everyone now that Raymond and Mrs G are strictly a grandson/grandmother type of story. The journey they take to try and find Luis was completely compelling and I felt really sad to close the door as the two characters faded into the literary sunset.

I may just have to crown this book a favorite of 2019

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads review published 19/05/19
Expected publication 21/05/19
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,999 followers
January 24, 2021
Excuse me while I go collect all the pieces of my heart that exploded while reading Have You Seen Luis Velez…

I don’t know why I waited so long to read this novel. Okay, I do know. It’s the cover. Something about staring down orthopedic shoes kept turning me off, despite rave review after rave review. But I’m here as the 101st person to tell you to just turn to page one and start this story about a Black teen who steps in to help a little old woman navigate the streets of New York while she in turn helps him navigate the hardships of life.

Very simply put, this is why I read. If you’re human and ask me for a book recommendation in the near or distant future, this will be my answer. All the stars for Catherine Ryan Hyde’s tale about friendship, self acceptance, compassion and empathy. We can all benefit from walking a mile in someone else's shoes (even if they’re orthopedic).

Have You Seen Luis Velez is currently available on Kindle Unlimited (and includes WhisperSync for those who may prefer listening on audio). As of 1/22/21.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,097 followers
August 18, 2020
An uplifting and beautiful story about humanity, friendship and Kindness. The sort of book that inspires good deeds in readers and a novel that will stay with me long after I have finished it.

Life gives us nothing outright, It only lends. Nothing is ours to keep. Quote by Catherine Ryan Hyde

This is my first novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde and I loved the time spent with this book and the special memories it awoken in me. I had an aged friend as a young girl and she was an inspiration and a strong influence in my life and Mildred Guterman reminded me of this lady.

When 17 year old Raymond Jaffe’s best friend moves away he fees alone and left out, he doesn’t feel his family understand him and his awkwardness stands in the way of him making friends. He helps out a 92 year old neighbor and the experience changes both their lives.

Beautiful characterization give this story an edge as you will totally fall in love with both Raymond and Mrs G and they will restore your faith in humanity. It’s a slow burn story but beautifully written and full of hope. The story is not without little moments of disbelief and there were situations that I felt were a little far fetched or too contrived but still I just loved this story and how it made me feel.

I listened to this one on audible and I really enjoyed the experience. The narrator was excellent and I felt Raymond and Mrs G were my friends by the end of this story.
I think everyone had a Raymond or Mrs G in their lives its just taking the time to stop and chat with them

If you are looking for a book to escape the world and its madness right now then I think this is one that is kind of special.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,172 reviews616 followers
June 3, 2019
This is a wonderful, heart warming book which I feel sure many different readers will enjoy!

When 16 year Raymond meets Millie, a 92 year old blind woman who lives in his apartment block, she is outside her apartment looking for Luis Velez, a young man who has been coming weekly for the last four years to take her to the bank and the shops. It's been more than two weeks since he last visited and Millie is worried something bad has happened to him - and she's down to her last can of soup. Raymond not only takes over Luis' role in helping Millie with her shopping but starts to look for Luis. Raymond is the mixed race son of divorced parents, his mother white and his father African American. He lives with his mother and her new (white) husband and three step sisters but feels he doesn't fit in there. Although he gets on well with his father, his new wife resents him and he doesn't feel welcome when he visits. He's also a bit of a loner at school and his only friend has just moved interstate. In Millie he finds a new friend, someone who is non-judgemental and sees him for who he is.

Through his search for Luis Velez, Raymond meets other people who become his friends and see him for the kind and thoughtful boy that he is and he becomes a catalyst for others to do good deeds. His friendship with Millie is beautiful as she becomes the kind and wise older person that has been missing from his life and Raymond realises that family does not have to be restricted to those you are related to. Although there are some sad events in the book , this is ultimately a very uplifting, life-affirming story.

With thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union for a digital ARC to read.
Profile Image for Nadia.
270 reviews175 followers
June 5, 2019
Have You Seen Luis Velez is a story of a boy who doesn't fit in and forms an unlikely friendship with his 92-year-old neighbour. Raymond is 17 years old and his only friend just moved away, leaving him with no friends. One morning on his way to school, he meets one of his neighbours on the second floor landing, looking for Luis . 92-year-old Millie is blind and Luis used to do her shopping for her until he mysteriously disappeared a few weeks ago. Millie is now running out of food. Raymond with his kind heart offers to do shopping for Millie and help her find Luis. From that moment, a unique friendship is born.

I fell hard for Raymond who felt like he didn't belong and had no one looking out for him. Being the only black family member whilst living with his white mum, stepfather and 3 half-sisters, Raymond struggles to fit in and searches for his identity. The good-heartedness and will to help others in this novel was uplifting and I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Raymond and Millie growing stronger and more profound as time went by. The book is about kindness, compassion and empathy, but it also examines prejudice and white privilege in a sensitive and inconspicuous way. This is an emotional story that will both warm and break your heart.

"The world is a tough place, my friend... And yet, we're called upon to be grateful that we're in it."

Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kat (Books are Comfort Food).
235 reviews242 followers
April 23, 2021
Catherine Hyde Ryan is an exceptional authoress. Her books transcend you into another world, all consuming. This book, is a reminder that people do care. We lead busy, self-absorbed lives, but these is so much beauty and power in friendship; opening yourself to another when it feels counter intuitive. I think many of us are starved from the collective wisdom that comes from joining others who care more about people than things. And sometimes, the elderly, which society in general seems to forget, have the most wisdom of all.

Raymond Jaffre befriends a 92 year old woman, Mildred Gutermann who lives in his building. Raymond is 17, he feels like an outcast everywhere, his only friends: A feral cat and a boy who is moving to Ca. Mrs. G, needs help with shopping and bank visits, her blindness affecting her mobility. Louis Valdez once did these things for her, but now he is suddenly gone.

This book brought up many feelings for me, some of which were difficult. But what I got in return from this book is an uplifting feeling of hope and strength. It is now one of my all-time favorites.

I’d like to thank Regina who not only recommended this book, but encouraged to to listen to the audiobook , which was such a treat. I’ve not listened to an audiobook in 20 years! Now, I’m hooked. xo ❤️
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,139 reviews1,876 followers
July 13, 2020
This was an EASY 5 stars for me!

I am always in search of characters who will stay with me, long after the final pages of the book has been turned, but few hold that honor.

Eleanor Oliphant (is completely fine)
Ove (A Man Called Ove)
Annika from “The Girl He Used to Know”
Harold Fry (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry)
Queenie Hennessy (The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (Harold Fry #2)

And, now, joining that elite list-Raymond and Mrs. G from this gem of a book!


She was wringing her hands in front of her flowered skirt, standing on the second floor landing.

“Have You Seen Luis Velez? asked Mrs. G, his 92 year old, blind neighbor. “For four years he came to help me and check on me”

Realizing the enormity of her words, 17 year old Raymond, from the 4th floor, decides to knock on her door later that day, to ask how Luis was helping her.

He discovers that Luis would walk Mrs. G to the bank and the grocery store to help her purchase her food for the week.

It had been 17 days, since Luis last visited and Mrs. G was down to one half can of condensed chicken and rice soup.

The tears started for me for the first time when I read this, and I was only at the 6% mark of the book!

What transpires from this point on, is a wonderful friendship where Raymond continues to help his neighbor while searching for answers about WHY Luis Velez stopped showing up.

Although I am not sure if empathetic young men like Raymond truly exist,
the lives this character touches make this an uplifting and hopeful read!

If this Covid 19 World has you feeling down, this wonderful book may be just the antidote you need!

Highly Recommended!
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
625 reviews1,536 followers
August 21, 2020
I knew within the first 10 pages that this book would get all the stars!

“Hello?...Do you know Luis Velez? Have you seen him?”

That’s what teenager Raymond hears one day on the 2nd floor of his apartment complex as he’s leaving for school. The voice belongs to Mildred, his 92-year old elderly neighbor, who is blind. Raymond doesn’t know her, and he doesn’t know who Luis Velez is, but quickly learns that Luis comes and helps Mildred go to the bank and get groceries three times a week. With Luis seemingly missing, Raymond decides to step into the role and help her out.

As an unlikely friendship begins, Raymond also tries to find what happened to Luis. Raymond has never felt like he belonged...not in school, not at home with family. Mildred might finally make him feel like he has a place in the world, and in return, he might show her that there is still compassion and little bright spots in a very dark world.

I can’t say enough about this book. It brought out mixed emotions of joy and sadness. I won’t lie...I teared up and flat-out bawled my eyes out on and off throughout the whole journey. There were both happy tears and sad tears. Raymond may be one of my favorite characters of all time. The compassion he has for people, even though his life isn’t going so great, is a truly beautiful thing to read. I was blown away by the way every part of the plot and everyone Raymond met tied together. The biggest takeaway for me is that we have to remember there is still good out there in this world, and we need to grab onto those moments whenever we can.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my friend, Jayme, for once again leading me to a truly wonderful book that I might not have found if it weren’t for her fantastic review. 5 stars!!
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews317 followers
September 8, 2019
A heartwarming tale that brings light into darkness...

This is a story about possibilities and grace. About finding friendship and acceptance from the unlikeliest person, connections through unforeseen circumstances and, above all, community and love. It broke my heart, mended it, broke it again and then left me with a an open heart and a feeling of hope.

I don’t do summaries, but in short, Raymond, a teenager, finds Millie, a blind, nonagenarian wandering the halls of his building asking if anyone has seen Luis Velez, a young man who took care of her several days a week. And this, as they say, is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. One that opens up a world for both even while they deal with their own heartbreak. To paraphrase what one character tells Raymond, the world may be a place where terrible people do terrible things, but we must not forget the world can also be wonderful and both can live side-by-side, one does not negate the other. It’s the wonderful part that keeps us moving forward.

And this book is wonderful and it shows us how people can come together to do more than anyone alone can. That there is something miraculous that happens when we do something bigger than ourselves. That just about the time we are full of despair, one need only ask for help and it will be there. I can’t remember the last time a book made me cry throughout, from sadness, but also from a quiet joy.

All that said, it is written in a somewhat simpler style so for readers who are looking for lyrical, this isn’t going to hit that mark. But given that we see the story from a 17-year-old’s perspective, I think it’s an authentic voice. And this would be a great YA read.

Thank you to Angela and Erin whose reviews prompted me to find this book, one that I would never have come across otherwise. I highly recommend this book if you want a feel good book and characters that you wish you could meet in real life. Or if you just need to feel hopeful about the world.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,003 reviews36k followers
June 30, 2020
I simply can’t agree more with every 5 star review before me.
Totally absorbing story....
Thought endearing....
Vivid, beautifully controlled and written with effortless skill and empathy and inspiration!!!
Meeting Raymond, a high school junior in this page turning novel was a gift!

Quick read -VERY ENGAGING! Going in blind works!!!

Thank you Tracy for recommending it to me!!!!!

Highly recommended for those who want an immediate grabbing fiction story that’s both fierce and tender.
A powerful look at the human heart!!!

Not expensive
Kindle unlimited
Profile Image for Stacey B.
303 reviews68 followers
March 10, 2023
Raymond Jaffe is sixteen, jewish and biracial. A boy alone.
He feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere. Not in school,
not with his mother's new family, and not as a weekend guest with his father and new wife who seems to have an uncanny way of disappearing so she is not seen with him.
On his way into his apartment after school, Raymond meets Millie, a ninety-two year old neighbor. She asks .. "Have you seen Luis Velez?" Millie's tone is nervous as she tells him her caregiver has not shown up for days. Raymond reacts by going through the phone book looking up numbers that match Luis Velez. He finds 21 numbers, but when half don't pan out Raymond goes on foot in search of Luis, knocking on doors around the city.
Raymond and Millie wouldn't know that today would be the beginning of a very rare, forgiving, and special relationship.
Let's go back to those doors for a second that Raymond desperately knocked on. What he encountered behind some of these doors was not only unexpected by Raymond, it was a big surprise for me. At this point C.R.Hyde's sensitivity begins to explode all over my cheeks.
So now.. Raymond decides he will just temporarily step into a new role. He takes Millie to her bank first; the grocery store is stop number two as Millie has had only a half a can of soup since Luis disappeared. As they walk, Raymond feels Millie becoming uneasy. Finally asking, she tells him she's scared, feeling unsafe in their neighborhood. Millie adds that it has become rundown and dangerous due to gang fights, stealing, bigotry and antisemitism. She feels people are moving away and she doesn't want to be alone.
As they continue to walk, Raymond suspects Millie isn't sharing all her fears. In the meantime the bonds of friendship connect by relating their many experiences; which in turn teach them both about different facets of living, compassion and humility. Millie has been Raymond's age, but Raymond hasn't been hers. Much to be learned about family and living when coming from different backgrounds.

If ninety-two yr. Millie can learn a few solid lessons from a 16yr boy; I have to believe this book is for readers of all ages.
CRH writes with amazing sensitivity. What I love most are the topics she chooses to write about. They are as sensitive and current as she. I find that one of her gifts is having the ability to know just the right amount of topics to include a single book and meld them together making sure each one receives 100% attention.
CRH is the author of the famous book and movie "Pay it Forward" and
at least forty others.
291 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2021
This is book is sweet and uplifting, but it's themes were not very subtle. At one point I searched for a description of the book because I thought I had mistakenly picked up a YA novel. I hate to be cynical but taking the preaching down a notch could have really helped this book.
Profile Image for Libby.
581 reviews157 followers
February 8, 2020
Catherine Ryan Hyde tackles racial prejudice and fear of anything that is considered ‘other’ in “Have You Seen Luis Velez?” Raymond’s father is black but his mother, stepdad and siblings are white. Raymond sees his father every other weekend but lives with his mother and stepdad, so he’s the only black person in the home. He feels different; he feels ‘other,’ and he doesn’t feel like anyone in his family is listening to him. When a ninety-two-year-old blind woman that lives in his apartment building reaches out, Raymond is responsive. A man by the name of Luis Velez had been coming to help Millie Gutermann go to the bank and grocery shop, but he’s quit coming. Without telling Millie what he’s doing, Raymond begins a search to find out what happened to Luis Velez.

This is my third book by this author and I’ve discovered that moral or life lessons are part of her signature style. She doesn’t come across as preachy or overbearing; rather, I found her narrative refreshing and hopeful. When I hadn’t found a single bad person in the book by page 80, however, I was beginning to think that too much kindness was going to kill the story’s credibility (a sad and sobering reflection on what I think the real world is like). Then, Hyde introduces an unkind, rude, hostile character, and I was relieved to find him there, stalking the pages with his judgments and meanness and making this book world feel realistic. The comment this character makes to Raymond goes to the heart of my ideas about prejudice. “Wha’chou doin’ in my neighborhood, boy?” People seem to have their own ideas about who belongs and who doesn’t belong in their neighborhood. Ethnicity and religion are two provocateurs, as well as class, education, ageism, and sexual orientation and any other little thing the human brain can think of to delineate differences. It was this scene in Hyde’s story that made me think of Trayvon Martin, the seventeen-year-old African American boy who was visiting relatives in a gated community in Florida when George Zimmerman, a volunteer with the neighborhood watch decided Trayvon didn’t belong. Zimmerman’s confrontation with Trayvon ended up in an altercation and Trayvon’s death.

Hyde explores the implications of prejudice through this fictional story that unfortunately reflects many of today’s headlines. Snap judgments made on the basis of skin color or other factors have huge consequences. Souls are crushed and a spirit of divisiveness grows like kudzu as people line up to take sides, and occasionally, the bright flame of a human life is extinguished (as in Trayvon Martin’s case), never to smile again, never to participate in family events or gather with loved ones on the holidays. In this story, Millie Gutermann, as a German Jew, experienced the cruel, merciless effects of prejudice as her family just barely manages to get out of Germany in time. Raymond thinks that Millie is the only person who is able to really “see” him, and acknowledges the irony of this as she is blind. But Millie sees more than just skin color or sexual orientation. In her long life, she has learned the value of acceptance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this as a buddy read with Sharon and DeAnn. Sharon made notes with her kindle as she read and I definitely want to try that next time. Reading with buddies made me dig a little deeper. Hyde’s main characters are kind and well-meaning almost to a fault, but they are not protected from real-world troubles, hence, in the end, the story is credible. This is a great book for sharing due to Hyde’s incisive exploration into the nature of prejudice.
Profile Image for Karren  Sandercock .
771 reviews150 followers
February 15, 2021
Thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine Ryan Hyde for my advanced copy of Have You Seen Luis Velez.
What a brilliant book and I loved it.
Raymond Jaffe is a mixed race sixteen year old young man he lives with his mum, step father and three younger sisters. His father has married again, he stays with them every second weekend and his fathers new wife can't be bothered with him. He feels unwanted, unloved and a burden to everyone. Raymond struggles to fit in at school, he has one friend who's moving away and he's resigned to the fact that he will be alone.
One day on his way to school his elderly neighbor Mildred Gutermann is standing out the front of her apartment trying to get someone to help her, she's ninety two, house bound, blind and desperate.
Her friend Luis has assisted her for four years but for some reason Luis Velez hasn't been to visit her and he hasn't called her to tell her why? Luis provided support for her go to the bank, pay her bills, go food shopping and he was her only link to the world outside of her apartment. After a couple of weeks she is getting very desperate and is down to her last half a can of soup. Raymond decides to help his neighbor with her errands and also solve the mystery of what happened to Luis Velez?
Along the way he saves an abandoned kitten, meets some very interesting people, makes new friends and eventually he finds out what happened to Luis.
Have You Seen Luis Velez is a beautiful book it's about relationships, compassion, kindness, justice and it's about a young man finding his way in life and his unique relationship with his ninety two year old neighbor.
I loved the book, it takes you back to being an insecure teenager and I gave it 5 stars.
I have shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Australian Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Twitter and my blog.
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
396 reviews582 followers
May 20, 2020
"Have You Seen Luis Velez?" by Catherine Ryan Hyde is the first book I've read from this author.

CHR writes with detail and depth! I loved how the friendship between Raymond & Mildred developed by each reaching out to the other for different reasons. Mildred, blind and elderly, has no one to help her. Raymond who is friendless & ignored by his family, feels alone. Their loneliness brings them together out of need and the desire to help one another. This friendship develops through empathy, kindness and trust. This book shows the example of true human kindness and how being selfless out of concern for another human being can bring so much to your life, as well as to the one you are helping.

So glad I read this lovely heartwarming book!
142 reviews85 followers
June 17, 2019
I rarely read young adult novels and into the first few chapters thought I had made a mistake on this one. As I proceeded I was in awe of how deftly the author had inner woven very interesting characters with "Lessons" . There are Lessons on courage, predjudice, compassion, humility, integrity, loyalty, empathy, openmindedness, and more. The message delivered deserves 10 stars as it is powerful and by example; But, I am now very anxious to move on to murders, bloodlettting and things that go bump in the night.
Profile Image for Christy.
653 reviews
January 6, 2020
From the 1st time I saw this book, the title drew me in right away. Then I read the synopsis and knew I would want to read this one. I've always really enjoyed stories about the relationships between the very young and very old. Raymond is a 17 year old kid, who feels like he doesn't belong in any aspect of his life. Mildred Gutermann is a blind 92 year old woman who lives in Raymond's building. One day they stumble upon one another and she asks him, "Have you seen Luis Velez"? From there an amazing, emotional, and beautiful relationship develops between the two.

Raymond is an amazing young man. He sets out to find Luis Velez for Mrs. G and comes across many characters along the way. For every not so nice person the book presents, there is another person who shows an amazing kindness. There's a lot going on in this book, many deep issues, but not in an overwhelming way at all. One of the major themes of the book is what constitutes a life of value. Also, it really shows how "privilege" can affect the outcome of one's life. Mrs. G sort of goes downhill as time goes on. She has a past she can't let go of and Raymond is determined to not let her give up. One of my favorite parts of the book is towards the end when Raymond takes Mrs. G to see a cellist play on the street. So much wisdom and truth in that scene. It was really beautiful and heart warming.
Profile Image for Kerrin .
293 reviews230 followers
April 25, 2020
Words to describe Have You Seen Luis Velez? Uplifting, thought-provoking, encouraging, and big-hearted. If you need any of those ideas in your life (and who doesn't), then I highly recommend this book. It is a simple reminder that if you want to see good in the world, YOU need to be the one to do good.

If you would like to discuss this book, check out my list of questions at www.booksandrecipes.com.
Profile Image for Jean.
731 reviews20 followers
May 12, 2020
Have You Seen Luis Velez? With that short sentence, a question uttered by a stranger in his apartment building, seventeen-year-old Raymond Jaffe’s is changed forever.

Up to this point, Raymond feels like he has only one friend, and that friend has just moved away. He feels like a misfit in his own family. His mother has remarried, he does not get along with his stepfather, and he has little in common with his younger stepsisters. His dad’s new wife wants little to do with him either.

Suddenly, there is Millie. Mildred Gutermann is a 92-year-old woman who lives alone. She is almost completely blind. Until very recently, a man named Luis Velez had been coming to her home several times a week to help her with shopping and other errands. But he has not shown up for more than two weeks, nor has he called. Mrs. Gutermann is very worried about him. She also has very little food left in her cupboards. Without hesitation, Raymond comes to her rescue. A friendship is born.

Early on, I was struck by something that Mrs. Gutermann said to him soon after they met when he stopped back to tell her that he had not learned anything about Luis Velez. Most people, she said, hurry by with the attitude that, "You are not my family or my friend, you are not my little tribe. You are a them, you are not an us. " This is the second book in a row that I’ve read that referred to tribalism, and it made an impression on me because it seems that we have so much “them and us” in our world today. There is one more reference to tribalism that comes toward the end of the story. I found it to be very sobering.

Raymond is an extraordinary young man. He immediately feels a bond with Mrs. G, as he refers to Millie. While he is respectful and hesitates to ask too much about her personal history, he feels a connection to her. He vows to himself to search for Luis Velez. It proves to be quite a journey!

When he is with Mrs. G, he feels like he can be himself. He is mixed race, but Millie does not see that. It did not occur to me, either, until he told her. “It struck him odd that he’d come to the home of a blind woman to be seen clearly. At long last.” During his quest for Luis, Raymond finds himself. He takes risks and meets people who accept and like him for who he is. Even as his difficulties with his own family continue, he is able to reach out to others to help Mrs. G, and in the process, he is becoming more fully alive himself. He is maturing, extending his awareness beyond his own sphere, and he responds to challenges presented to him. What about his family relationships? Sometimes those are the most difficult to work on, but it seems that he will have Mrs. G to cheer him on in that regard.

Late in the book we learn some of Millie’s background, her flight from Germany as a young girl, and the feelings that still evokes in her. As the story unfolds, the emotions of the present become entangled with her memories and ghosts of the past. Raymond becomes deeply concerned about his friend’s despair. I loved how he works so hard to bring joy to her life! Those were some of my very favorite parts of the book.

My thanks to Chris for insisting that I read this book and for assuring me that I would love it. I did. And I did! I think you might too. I look forward to reading more books by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,096 reviews2,663 followers
June 10, 2019
Raymond Jaffe was sad his best friend was leaving. Other than Andre, he had no other friends at school. So when an elderly woman in his apartment block stopped him with a question – “Have you seen Luis Velez?” Raymond spoke to her. Mildred Gutermann – call me Millie – had been alone in her apartment for the past seventeen days as Luis, who helped her with everyday chores, had disappeared. She was down to her last half can of soup which she’d been rationing. Raymond immediately determined he would help her by walking with her to the bank, and the shops for food.

Millie was ninety-two years old and almost blind; Raymond was seventeen-years old and black. There were prejudices on both sides with both of them feeling they didn’t fit where they were meant to. Raymond decided to search for Luis Velez, but he didn’t want to tell Millie until he had a result. So began a time which took Raymond well out of his comfort zone, and he did it for his friend Millie. He also discovered what it meant to have someone believe in him; and the meaning of kindness.

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde has immediately shot to the top of my favourite novels for 2019. What an absolutely delightful feel-good story. The unusual friendship between a 92-year-old woman and a 17-year-old teenager captivated me – the manner in which it was written felt perfect – I was smiling, just enjoying the ride the whole way through. This is my first by this author, but it definitely won’t be my last. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer Blankfein.
384 reviews652 followers
January 5, 2020
What better way to kick off the new year than by reading this gem of a book, Have You Seen Luis Velez? Kindness, compassion, generosity, acceptance…this is what we all need and deserve, and this is what author Catherine Ryan Hyde serves up in this highly recommended novel.

Raymond is in high school, a good student with divorced parents of different races. He struggles with his own identity, making friends, fitting in with his family and feeling comfortable in his skin. When his best friend moves away, CONTINUE READING REVIEW AND AUTHOR Q & A AT https://booknationbyjen.com/2020/01/0...
Profile Image for Michelle.
152 reviews57 followers
August 30, 2019
Omg. This book is a reality. How in our racist society is this still going on. It clearly in her testimony that I she shot him because he is Hispanic.. and by her ignorance she is stating white privilege. She should have been found guilty without a doubt. Why was there no hispanics on the jury. This book made me so mad. And sadly this is today's society.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Donna Weber.
402 reviews101 followers
June 21, 2021
Absolutely loved this book! 5 stars doesn't begin to capture the wonder that is Have You Seen Luis Velez, it truly deserves 100 stars! I didn't want it to end! More to come.
Profile Image for Lynn.
861 reviews124 followers
December 11, 2019
This is an extraordinary book about a very special relationship.

Raymond Jaffe is a 16 year old black boy who lives with his white mother and her husband and their children. Raymond doesn’t feel like he fits in with this family, or with his father and his young wife who seems to resent that Raymond exists. He has no friends at school, so he feels like he doesn’t fit in there either.

One day an elderly, blind neighbor, Millie Gutermann, is standing outside her apartment asking everyone who walks by if they have seen Luis Velez, a man who had been helping her for 4 years and had suddenly disappeared. Raymond takes it upon himself to start helping Millie with her shopping and banking, while he begins a search for Luis Velez. Raymond and Millie develop a close friendship, and end up helping each other in ways they would never have expected.

Raymond is the type of young man that every boy should grow up to be: he is caring, considerate, empathetic, loyal and exceedingly kind. He puts other people’s needs ahead of his own. In his search for Luis Velez, he brings out the best in many of the people he encounters, and they in return do their best to help him in surprising ways.
Millie is a wise, pragmatic woman, who has experienced a lot of sorrow in her 92 years, some of it weighing heavily on her psyche. Raymond is able, with the help of a variety of people, to break through her perspective that she is at fault for events that happened in the past and she should not enjoy her life.

I can’t say that I liked Raymond’s mother, stepmother or stepfather much. Given what a great kid Raymond is, I don’t understand their treatment of him. I have to say that Raymond’s father has terrible taste in women.

The book is beautifully written. The story is told from Raymond’s point of view, but you get insight into most of the characters. The prose is just so insightful at times.

Some of my favorite quotes are:

“Tell me what it is about your life that is making you so unhappy.”
“I didn’t say I was unhappy.”
“You didn’t need to.”
He struggled inwardly for a moment, floundering in the embarrassment of having been seen. It struck him odd that he’d had to come to the home of a blind woman to be seen clearly. At long last.

“It goes like this, but purely subconsciously: Is the person I’m supposed to be judging our tribe, or another tribe? If she’s us, mistakes can be forgiven. He’ll, everyone makes mistakes. The mistake becomes an anomaly, because it’s us, and we’re good people. If she’s them, mistakes need to be punished, because that’s how they are. The mistake only proves the point that that’s how they are.”

“Back when I first met you. I stopped to talk to you. You said that most people don’t stop, because you’re a ‘them’ and not an ‘us.’ I don’t think you were talking about race, though. Just the way people stick with those they know.”

“The world will still be a place where people do terrible things. But here’s the thing about despair. We fall into despair when the terrible gangs up on us and we forget the world can be wonderful. We just see terrible everywhere we look. So what you do for your friend is you bring up the wonderful, so both are side by side. The world is terrible and wonderful at the same time. One doesn’t negate the other, but the wonderful keeps us in the game. It keeps us moving forward. And, I’m sorry to tell you this, Raymond, but that’s as good as the world is going to get.”

“After all, the only thing that hurts more than tears shed is tears unshed.”

The story addresses themes of family, fitting in, justice, what constitutes a life of value, privilege, fairness and unfairness, tribalism, sexuality, kindness, empathy, hope among others. This is a novel for all ages, teens to centenarians.

It is an absolute recommend!
Profile Image for Lisa.
621 reviews234 followers
February 13, 2020
An endearing and delightful story of friendship, aging, loss and kindness

Raymond Jaffa is sixteen, a high school student and feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere. Not in school, not with his mom’s new family and not with his dad’s family either. His best friend moved away and now he spends his time with a 92-year-old woman who lives in his building, and is looking for Luis Velez.

Millie, a German Jew, has been alone since her caretaker, Luis, disappeared three weeks ago. She’s blind and finds Raymond in the stairwell of their building and asks for help. Raymond realizes Millie, has no food left and immediately agrees to walk her to the bank and the store. He also want to figure out what happened to Luis Velez and starts a search of his own. While he is looking for Luis a deep and unexpected friendship develops between the two. Milllie is deeply despondent over the disappearance of Luis and Raymond does his best to help, while dealing with his own unhappy family life.

“Living long is a gift denied to many, and so it comes with a responsibility to make the most of it. At very least to appreciate it. People gripe about growing older — their aches and pains, how much harder everything is — as if they had forgotten that the alternative is dying young.”

HAVE YOU SEEN LUIS VELEZ is a endearing and delightful story of friendship, aging, loss and kindness. The story provides a richly delivered portrait of two kindred souls, years apart in age, but both struggling to make sense of this terrible but wonderful world. Raymond Jaffa’s compassion is inspiring.

Raymond’s search for Luis brings him in touch with an assortment of people and places which open his eyes to a wider world. A perfectly brilliant cast of characters is showcased, including Raymond’s carping mom, to the helpful school librarian and the evil step mom that makes every attempt to block Raymond from seeing his dad.

Author CATHERINE RYAN HYDE’s writing is powerful and poignant and I couldn’t stop myself from inhaling the pages. It’s a gem of a novel of friendship that may just change the way you look at the world.

“When you decide to be alone or have a family, you’re pretty much choosing between feeling lonely or feeling aggravated.”

Publisher Lake Union Publishing
Published May 21, 2019
Narrated Michael Crouch
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,052 reviews311 followers
March 20, 2019
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free, electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

“Have You Seen Luis Velez?” is the question that starts it all. Raymond Jaffe is a teenager, who doesn’t fit in with his family and is trying to deal with his best friend moving away, when an elderly blind woman asks him about Luis Velez. Soon, Raymond is not only helping the elderly woman with her weekly errands, but he also takes on the mystery himself and is soon searching throughout the city for the stranger named Luis. As he searches, Raymond is confronted with the best (and the worst) parts of society, all the while making friends in strange places, and finally finding a place to belong.

A beautiful story by Catherine Ryan Hyde, “Luis Velez” has the powerful, thoughtful messaging familiar to fans of Backman Fredrick or Mitch Albom.

Young Raymond is an unassuming protagonist, and in every unexpected way he abashedly becomes a hero. Discarded by his father and ignored by his mother, this coming-of-age story finds Raymond understanding himself in new ways, with the help of some new (also slightly unexpected) friends.

There are powerful messages for life in this novel, many poignant tenets of love, relationships, and understanding ourselves and our fellow man. Through Mrs. G (the elderly woman who seeks the mysterious Luis), a reader is humbled, awed and inspired.

“Luis Velez” is an easy read, with a creative storyline and charming characters. Each chapter is specifically singled out to tell a certain part of the story, and the storyline is told in order (which is always a plus for me), while we get to learn a little bit about each character.

Although the major plot questions of this novel were resolved, I was not entirely satisfied with the ending. Bittersweet and beautiful yes, but I found disappointment in that I wanted to know more about where the relationship between Mrs. G and Raymond went after the last page. I can presume, obviously, and perhaps that is the intention, but I desperately wanted more about their fate in a more concrete way. Perhaps this speaks to how well the novel was written.

A delightfully charming novel that will stick with you, I was surprised and charmed by “Have You Seen Luis Velez?” Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel will definitely leave you thinking outside the box, and examining the relationship you have with yourself, and with others around you. Powerful, sweet and endearing, this was quite the surprising little treat!
Profile Image for Amy.
1,872 reviews1,877 followers
May 23, 2019
If you’re searching for a book to give you all the feels and one that will also restore your faith in humanity my friends then look no further. I’ve become a super fan of CRH over the past few years and this is my favorite of hers to date. Well, of the ones I’ve actually read because have you seen her backlist?! Impressive. But seriously, this is a special book and one that I won’t soon forget.

The driving force behind what makes a CRH fantastic is the incredible characterization, no doubt about it. She also has an incredible knack for telling stories about unlikely friendships that will tug at your heartstrings like no other and this was no exception. Raymond is a teenaged kid who I wanted to mother myself after just a few pages, this kid 😍 He is not your typical boy, he’s more mature and self aware than many adults, the kind of kid that would make every parent extremely proud, except for his own parents, which is such a shame. Millie lives in the same building as Raymond and the relationship between these two was beautiful and just so so special. What could a ninety year old and a sixteen year old possibly have in common? You’ll have to read yourself to truly understand, but the short answer is they have just enough in common to forge an amazing bond.

Yet another one of my favorite things about CRH is her ability to address current societal issues head on, but at the same time she’s not pushing a personal agenda or shoving things in the readers face. She’s exploring problematic issues in a sensitive and respectful manner and she always makes me think. As always this would be ideal for a book club or a buddy read, there is much to discuss, I know I’ve been dying to talk about this one with someone since I’ve finished! (If you’ve read it please let me know) Highly recommended by me, really to anyone who just likes a really well written and engaging story!

Have You Seen Luis Velez? in three words: Moving, Encouraging and Special.

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